Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Playwright and Actor George Furth Passes On

Playwright and character actor George Furth passed on Monday at the age of 75. He had written the book for Broadway musicals such as Company and The Act. As an actor he appeared in TV shows from The Monkees to Murder She Wrote and movies from The New Interns to Bulworth.

Furth was born George Schweinfurth December 14, 1932 in Chicago. He majored in speech at Northwestern University in Illinois, and received his Master's degree at Columbia University.

Furth made his debut on Broadway as a performer in the play A Cook for Mr. General in 1961. He made his debut on a the small screen in a guest appearance on Going My Way the following year. He would frequently appear on television in the Sixties, in series such as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Batman, F Troop, The Monkees, Ironside, and I Dream of Jeannie. He made his film debut in Gore Vidal's The Best Man in 1964. Over the years he would appear in such films as The New Interns, How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Blazing Saddles, Shampoo, Oh God, The Man With Two Brains, and Bulworth.

Furth was also a playwright who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim. He wrote the books for the musicals Company, The Act, and Merrily We Roll Along. He also wrote the plays Twigs, The Supporting Cast, Precious Sons, and Getting Away with a Murder.

Furth continued to make regular guest appearances on television from the Sixties into the Nineties. He appeared in such shows as Bonanza, Night Gallery, Adam-12, The Odd Couple, Ellery Queen, Wings, Murphy Brown, and The Nanny.

George Furth was gifted as both an actor and a playwright. As an actor he usually played a nerdish sort. As a playwright he won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical for Company. Furth was a rare breed. Not only was he a character actor, but an award winning playwright as well.

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